No, God will not punish PDP looters
No. God will not punish PDP looters. Or APC looters either. Or any looters for that matter. This is to contradict President Muhammadu Buhari who is reported to have cursed the main opposition party at his campaign rally in Bauchi. During the process of his imprecation on the PDP President Buhari said that God will punish PDP looters. While Buhari is waiting for God to punish PDP looters, the Nigerian Judicial system can sit back and collect bribes for cases that God will settle!
This column has maintained over the years that Corruption is not the problem of Nigeria. The problem of Nigeria is unpunished corruption. And Corruption is not punished in Nigeria because the President of the country who was voted to power to rid the country of Corruption is waiting for God to punish PDP looters, and APC looters also, since God does not discriminate. This is the reason why Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) ask for postponements and adjournments and outright dismissals of cases against looters since God will punish them in His time. And as we all know, God’s time is the best even for looters.
Seriously though, the lopsided Christianity prevalent in Nigeria does not preach any ethics at all. When last did a pastor preacher prophet call down fire and brimstone on all who steal from the orphan, all who make it impossible for the widow to survive decently, all who make justice fail? They are so busy preaching their right to be paid tithes even by those who don’t belong to their church and their type of religion. Yet, it is not the business of God to punish secular crimes. Neither is it the business of God to forgive crimes committed in countries where there are secular laws. But let us deal with punishment first before coming to the problem of forgiveness and how it undermines discipline, law and order, and the maintenance of justice.
There has to be a separation of the realm of Religion and the realm of the State. If not of what import is the clear instruction of Jesus Christ when he ordered that you must give unto God what is God’s, and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
Once such a distinction is made, God punishes sins, offenses against God. God does not punish crimes against the state. It is the business of the State to punish crimes against it. This is the reason why the elaborate system of Justice has been evolving from time immemorial. “By me kings reign, princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the Earth.”
The Nigerian society not only passes the buck of punishing criminals to God, but has also appropriated to itself the right to forgive crimes. After all, it is said that if someone slaps on one cheek, you need to, you obliged to, no, you are obligated to turn the other cheek as well. And you must forgive seventy times seventy times before you can seek revenge. Or take any step against the habitual perpetual and repeat offender.
There was a disciplinary problem at Ifafiti University (formerly Roadside University). A student was caught spying the work of another student during examinations. When the student came up before the university committee responsible for the discipline of students who cheat during examination, the invigilator Dr. Lovemore, declared, insisted that, in fact that, yes, the student cheated but he is sorry for what he did. Dr. Lovemore forgave the student. And that should be the end of the story. The Business Committee of Senate that took the matter on from the disciplinary committee insisted that both the student Dr. Lovemore should be expelled from the university. The reason is that forgiveness is the root of all indiscipline and the harbinger of subsequent lawlessness in society.
Forgiveness or the hope of forgiveness makes criminals deny responsibility for their criminal act claiming that the Devil made them do it. Who says they will not obey the Devil in future?
Being a university and being Senate there was a long debate. On the one side were those who insisted on following the university rules and regulations. The university regulation recommended rustication for examination malpractice under the belief that thieving and stealing were the greatest offences on Earth. The argument went that anyone who steals can lie and any liar can kill to hide his lies. So, a thief was tried for murder, indirectly, that is.
After the argument went back and forth, the student was expelled from the university. What remained was the recommendation that Dr. Lovemore should be sacked with immediate effect without benefit of a three month notice, or payment in lieu of!
Various members of the Senate, learned professors of Law and Religion gave impromptu lectures on law and forgiveness and senior lecturers waiting to made professors also spoke eloquently with one from the English Department quoting Portia’s ‘The Quality of Mercy’ speech in one of Shakespeare’s plays. Some said Julius Caesar. There was laughter all around. Someone asked: ‘Who wrote Macbeth?’ There was greater laughter when the director of ICT pleaded that the offense of writing Macbeth be not attributed to him. Becoming impatient, the Chairman, who was acting for the Acting Vice Chancellor, put an end to the rowdiness by saying the quote is from The Merchant of Venice also sometimes called The Jew of Venice, and that William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth.
The question he wanted answered was: what is the punishment in the university rules and regulations for forgiveness? Everyone was surprised, even shocked at such a question. There was no punishment for forgiveness. So, why is Dr. Forgivemore, sorry Dr. Lovemore, why is he being sacked by the university? Once again, the previous arguments were re-presented afresh. These arguments were countered afresh and there was a stalemate.
Time was running out. It had been decreed in Ifafiti University that no meeting should last longer than two hours. If any meeting does, anyone at the meeting can call for adjournment and bring the meeting to an end. It was a few minutes to two hours.
Those who wanted Dr. Lovemore sacked said Yey and those who did not want Dr. Lovemore sacked said Nay. And the Chairman said Dr. Lovemore was declared sacked. Any other business?
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